“A nurse in Somalia and the current call to increase women’s membership in the Canadian Armed Forces. A retrospective re-interpretation.”
This piece offers new insights into the 1993 Canadian deployment to Somalia (known as Operation Deliverance), adding to the historiography by revealing how a naval nursing officer serving in this operation used her professional and gender-specific skills to enhance United Nations (UN) operational goals. Looking back at the constructed memories of this woman offers us a rare glimpse into how that deployment changed her as a person, as a nurse, and as an officer, increasing her confidence in nursing ethical practices and in her leadership abilities. This retrospective account, drawing upon the author’s 2021 whole life oral history interviews with Rebecca Patterson, government reports, and selective works about this event, tells a compelling story and, for the first time, demonstrates how gender influenced the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF’s) ability to provide key operational capabilities in Somalia.